How to Doctor Up a Pre-Made Meal

eat smartSome food manufacturers are doing a much better job in helping busy working families get a healthy dinner on the table.

In fact, the packaged salad category is large and growing very quickly. The category was $737 million in sales last year (52 weeks ending 3/28/15) per Nielsen’s Fresh Facts.  This was growth of 34.3% versus prior year.  Eat Smart grew 80.6% over the same period!  

But are these pre made meals as healthy and delicious as a homemade meal?

As a busy working mom, and on airplane at least twice a month, I have really come to rely on these food manufacturers. There are some good ones and of course, some real train wrecks. I have outlined my favorite premade meals below and I will also show you how to “doctor” them up so they have a higher nutritional content and bonus-THEY TASTE LIKE YOU SLAVED IN THE KITCHEN FOR HOURS ☺

Sweet Kale Salad Kit from Eat Smart:

Another food company that’s doing many things right! This salad has so many uses that I just find it to be my go-to salad during a busy work week. You can just use it the traditional way as a salad and it comes with its own dressing. I do love the dressing but to meet my nutritional standard, I whisk a little lemon or lime juice into the dressing and that knocks down the sugar and calorie content.

Doctor-up tip: if you can’t use this before it starts to turn, add some coconut oil to a pan, sauté some cubed chicken, once the chicken is cooked, add the bag of Sweet Kale Salad and cook. You’ll end up with a delicious chicken and veggie stir fry.

Skinny Mojito Mocktail-LaCroix Sparkling Water:

I do love my after work drink. But, I also know that if I drink alcohol on an empty stomach studies show that I could possibly consume 30%+ more calories in my next meal.  Goodness knows I don’t need to consume 1,500 calories after work.  The fastest way to gain weight is to take in heavy calories in the evening. My solution? My own personal NO CALORIE MOJITO!

Doctor-up tip & recipe:


  • 8oz glass
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint
  • 3 wedges fresh lime
  • crushed ice
  • 6oz Lime LaCroix Sparkling Water


Squeeze fresh limes over mint leaves. Muddle mint and lime juice. Add crushed ice and top with Lime LaCroix Sparkling Water. Garnish with mint leaves & fresh limes.


Maya Kaimal Coconut Curry Indian Simmer Sauce:  This is a delicious sauce that meets my nutritional and taste, standard. This sauce has so many uses, that I almost always have one in my refrigerator. The easiest way to use it is to sauté some chicken, add in some veggies and then pour the sauce on top to simmer for a few minutes. Pour it over rice and dinner is ready.

Doctor-up tip: Add an additional sprinkle of curry powder, cayenne pepper, chopped cilantro and sliced avocado-yum!

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